As we move into the Golden Quarter of 2020, it would be easy to throw around cliches about “unprecedented times” and “unpredictability.”
Instead, let’s discuss the opportunities that a fast-tracked dependency on technology has brought for retailers ahead of Black Friday. The idea that maximising your sales and conversions can be done by simply looking at your Cyber Weekend strategy from a different perspective. A mobile-first perspective.
A recent report found that mobile revenue in the UK increased by 63% in Q2 of this year. We are fully aware of the dependency on technology to come with the Black Friday sales this year. But why, when people are in the comfort of their own homes, much less “on the go” and more likely to be spending time on their laptops, has mobile commerce seen such a jump in use?
This is down to several reasons. Firstly, mobile web traffic has been on the rise for several years, accounting for about half of all global web traffic since 2017. As with most other connecting technologies, the uptake that would have been projected over the next number of years has been accelerated significantly.
We recently discussed changes in consumer habits due to the pandemic – one such change is how technically savvy the consumer has become. People have been forced to spend digitally, meaning demographics who preferred handing over cash the old fashioned way have now had to put trust in online transactions. Increased comfort in digital online means an increased interest in convenient spending.
Consumers are happy to sit, scroll and purchase from their mobile while they stream Tiger King on their TV and Zoom Quiz on their laptop. (Okay, maybe not all at once, but you get the idea.)
One third of all sales over cyber weekend 2019 were made via mobile – but, people don’t just shop online, they also use their mobile devices to browse or research before making their mind up about their purchase.
Smart retailers preparing for an unprecedented (damn, we said it) Golden Quarter will realise they need to maximise their channels of access to tackle the seesawing decisions on restrictions. Even smarter retailers will realise the opportunity to maximise sales by perfecting mCommerce within their blueprints.
There’s an app for that
Done right, retail apps are a much more personalised and engaging extension of your omnichannel strategy. ASOS, for example, is now channelling their focus into their app which in the U.K accounts for 80% and 70% of their traffic and conversions, respectively.
In general, retail apps have been found to be “addictive”, with a recent study showing 54% of consumers use them weekly. The preference towards this type mobile commerce comes down to many different attributes such as more data storage, unlimited data plans, ease of use and consumer confidence with data protection according to Forbes.
But it’s not just the major players who can provide an optimum mobile app experience ahead of Cyber Weekend. Andrew Lipsman, principal analyst eMarketer states;
“Simplify the basics of app development by focusing on converting the shopper to a purchaser with ease of app usage and basic personalisation.”
The idea is to keep it simple both for you and the consumer – minimising the upkeep you need to do and simplifying the experience for your user.
Check out optimisation, wallets and one-click ordering
Having a check-out that is optimised for mobile, whether on an app or search engine, is a crucial step towards minimising your cart abandonment. If your customers are expected to “pinch and zoom” they are more likely to become agitated and distrust the process (ie. fear of clicking by accident.)
Not only this but similar to classic eCommerce stores, loading time also has a significant bearing on experience, with 53% of mobile visits abandoned during Cyber Weekend 2019 if pages took longer than 3 seconds to load. So before employing jazzy and handy check-out features ensure you’ve kept up with your appearances.
As with eCommerce, the user experience is king and the check-out experience is the crown – the increase in mobile payment options is proving to be a huge boost for customers’ mobile experience. We have frequently discussed the importance of diversifying payment methods, particularly with internationalising your business – what is customary in one country varies to the next. The same thought process can be applied across devices.
Digital wallets may be the deciding factor in conversions from visits to purchases – a recent report indicates that having a digital wallet payment option can triple your conversion rate.
Consumers have become accustomed to instantaneous processes – therefore requests such as “fill in your credit card details” on a small touch screen are felt like too much of a demand. The answer? One-click checkouts.
Consumers have also become much savvier when it comes to eCommerce, and digital wallets boast a certain level of trust that consumers may not have had otherwise. Credibility and familiarity are key, and Apple Pay, PayPal, and Google Pay have all cultivated reputable names for themselves. These payment methods not only simplify the checkout process but also eases the security concerns of shoppers who are growing more accustomed to mCommerce.
Check-out as Guest
On the note of one-click processes, it’s also important to provide the option to check out as a guest. Forms aren’t fun to fill out at the best of times and on mobile, it’s nothing short of a pain. Some consumers may be visiting your site for the first time as a mobile user, so If you want to maintain engagement, give them the option to postpone this requirement,
The less they have to do, the more likely they are to complete the checkout process and return as a customer.
We couldn’t discuss mCommerce without a nod to our bread and butter – the omnichannel experience. Omnichannel shoppers have a 30% higher lifetime value than those who shop on a single channel. However, consumers expect to be able to jump from one device to another with a flow that has been synchronised – but, as few retailers have perfected this across mobile, the opportunity to set oneself apart on mobile experience is huge.
With a push online at the hand of Covid19, Zara announced this year that it will not be re-opening several of its stores. Instead, their objective is to become a fully digital platform including cross-synergies between digital and physical shopping preferences, seamless browsing across channels. One such USP for Zara’s mobile services is the ability to scan the QR codes on tags in store, which can then be added saved to wishlists or baskets on their app for purchase later. A reverse take on Click & Collect.
Some retailers think that having a mobile extension of their brand is enough to “tick the box” – in reality, if your mobile doesn’t communicate your USPs in the way as they would in store you run the risk of frustrating your consumers. 84% of consumers say they’re more likely to stick with a brand that offers a loyalty program – and on mobile apps in particular this helps companies stay consistently engaged with their customers, which helps boost brand loyalty.
Loyalty programs are a great means of fighting discount culture as well – exclusive rewards motivate customers to increase their purchase frequency and basket value, and they’ll stay with you even after Black Friday. However few retailers are yet to perfect the use of loyalty schemes across mobile. Having loyalty programs that can be used across all channels helps customers feel happier that they didn’t lose out by alternatively to instore.
One such retailer who has nailed this process is Boots, by allowing for points to be both spent and earned via mCommerce, eCommerce or in store – something becoming more and more sought after by consumers.
2019 was the year of the smartphone – consumers opted out of standing in line and instead made purchases across the weekend via their phones. With the current climate the way it is, we can assume this trend is another that will see a massive jump in uptake ahead of the Golden Quarter – but retailers needn’t be daunted by a mobile first strategy.
As we have discussed, perfecting and capitalising off mCommerce comes down to simplicity, ease of use and synchronising the brand experience. While the landscape for retailers is scary and uncertain right now, there are beacons of hope to plan towards. Within crisis are the seeds of opportunity, and fortune favours the retailers prepared to nurture the stem of mCommerce.